Rising Star Cameron Boots Shares How a Young Workforce Is Both a Risk and an Opportunity for the Construction Sector
Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers who represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.
Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds throughout 2023.
Here, we speak with Cameron Boots, area vice president of Gallagher, and a 2023 Construction Power Broker winner.
Risk & Insurance: Talk about your journey into the brokering space. How did you land where you are today?
Cameron Boots: I started in the insurance brokerage space in May of 2016.
I’m technically second generation within the space, where I was able to pick up information about the industry because, as you can imagine, not many high school and college students dream of selling insurance someday.
My father was involved in risk control and insurance, so I wanted to follow in his footsteps with the risk management side of things.
I went to college at Slippery Rock University, where I got a degree in safety management. That degree had courses like motor fleet safety and filling out driver logs, like a trucker would do on a day-to-day basis. It was very enlightening coursework, because I felt like I could apply everything that I’ve learned to my everyday work as a risk control professional within the insurance brokerage space.
As I said, I started in May of 2016 as a safety administrator, and I was on the safety and risk control side, but my mindset from a very young age was entrepreneurial.
The agency that I worked with at the time was a smaller, privately-owned agency. I saw that it had some young owners and young partners within the agency, and I said, “I want to do that. How do I become an owner of this company?”
That’s where my gears really turned from being just on the risk control side to being an insurance broker, which I started as of 2018.
I still always applied that philosophy of risk control regarding my work. From there, I hit the ground running.
We’re very specialized with what our specific office does; one side of our office focuses just on crane companies and the other side of our office focuses on scaffolding ― the erecting and dismantling of scaffolding, like you might see in New York City. [At first] I didn’t know which one I wanted to fall into, but after about a year, I knew it was the crane side.
Now, there are about 43 crane companies that I represent from the insurance side of things, and I was looking to continue ramping that up when we were acquired by Gallagher in 2019.
That has been the best partnership and the best career development moment for where I was at as an insurance broker. It has been great so far.
R&I: What are the most pressing risks for the construction sector today?
CB: Number one, I would say, is labor shortages and finding the right talent.
Let’s say a commercial auto carrier within the construction space has age limitations. It’s a double-edged sword when it comes to finding the right type of talent when a carrier is saying they can’t hire anyone under the age of 25. What is this person supposed to do for seven years after they graduate high school?
Going along with that, I would say another challenge is an aging workforce.
People are retiring, whether it’s owners or just crane operators. The generational shift is a bit of a challenge.
R&I: What exciting opportunities, if any, do you expect to see in the next year for the construction sector?
CB: This contradicts my first point about the sector risks a bit, but we are seeing more and more younger crane owners within this space, whether it’s the younger guys who are taking the risk to start a crane company or the generational shift of the younger generation taking over while the older generation owner is retiring.
Seeing that is so exciting, because I’m now working with crane owners who are the same age as me.
R&I: What is your brokering philosophy, and how do you implement this into your work each day?
CB: My goal is to provide the answers to the questions that have not been asked yet.
Having a finger on the pulse of providing the answer to the questions before they are asked has been such a big focus of mine and our teams.
We must be two steps ahead, being that we are so niche focused within cranes. Because yes, crane companies aren’t necessarily always cookie cutter, but a lot of pain points that we’ve seen could be the pain points that another company could have within the next year or two.
R&I: What advice would you give to a young professional just beginning to embark on their career in insurance?
CB: I love that question. I spend a lot of time with our interns and younger producers who aren’t validated yet.
The brokers at Gallagher are more than willing to dedicate our time to someone that we see is ambitious and hungry, because we were in their shoes at one point. That excites us just as much as bringing on a new client or writing new business.
My advice for someone younger getting into this role is to not be afraid of swimming out into the deep end, because that’s ultimately how you’re going to learn. That’s how these lessons are going to stick. It’s how you’re going to be able to apply it with future opportunities. &